Alcohol addiction or dependency is characterised by the emotional or physical reliance on alcohol.

In Australia, the National Drinking Guidelines for alcohol intake recommend a maximum of two standard drinks per day. Regularly exceeding these recommendations may indicate alcohol misuse, however there are also a number of other symptoms that characterise the condition.

Mental and emotional symptoms of alcohol misuse or dependency

Men and women are equally likely to develop alcohol dependency, however statistically, women are less likely to reach out for help and support. The DSM-V indicates that clinical alcohol misuse can predispose individuals to other psychiatric conditions, such as depression, anxiety, emotional regulation and anger management difficulties.

Some additional emotional and mental symptoms include:

  • Worrying about or dwelling on when you will be able to have your next drink,
  • Consuming alcohol on your own, or trying to hide your alcohol consumption from those around you,
  • Finding it difficult to relax, ‘wind down’ or go to sleep without alcohol, or
  • Struggling to stop consuming alcohol after reaching the recommended daily intake (two standard drinks).

 

 

Symptoms of physical alcohol dependency

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous dependencies to treat, and must be undertaken with medical supervision. In severe cases, withdrawal side effects can be fatal.

The human body has a natural ability to adapt to increased alcohol intake. An increase in the amount of alcohol that is required for it to have an effect is an early indicator of developing dependency, as is minimised “hangover” effects.

As dependency or addiction becomes more severe, individuals may notice regular withdrawal symptoms when they do not consume alcohol for a time (perhaps daily or even hourly). These symptoms may include headaches, shaking, feeling nauseous, racing heart or sweating. If these symptoms are present, medical guidance should be sought immediately.

The Banyans have created a short downloadable document that provides additional information on alcohol misuse, and the importance of medically supported recovery. We encourage you to view this resource with your loved ones when engaging in a conversation about alcohol misuse.

Download a free support guide

Our Psychologists have put together a short PDF support guide for those with a loved one experiencing alcohol misuse. The guide can be very useful in facilitating a conversation with your loved one about the importance of seeking help in a gentle and informative way.

DOWNLOAD A SUPPORT GUIDE

There can be a number of serious health risks related to alcohol addiction or dependency. This is why medical support is a critical aspect of safe recovery.